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Unaweep/Tabeguache Scenic Byway


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Unaweep/Tabeguache Scenic Byway
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General Information

Description - The northern terminus of the Unaweep/Tabeguache (tabawatch) Scenic Byway lies in Whitewater along U.S. Highway 50. The byway begins by crossing the Gunnison River and heading southwest in Unaweep Canyon. The canyon contains East Creek to Unaweep Divide. On the western side of the divide the creek is called West Creek. Public land surrounds the canyon, Grand Mesa National Forest to the north and Uncompahgre National Forest to the south.

Unaweep Canyon ends when West Creek intersects with the Dolores River. The small town of Gateway is located at this confluence. The scenic byway continues to follow 141 southward from Gateway. BLM Lands surround this stretch of highway along the Dolores River. Abandoned mines and mining roads lie on the mesas surrounding this part of the byway. Further south along the Dolores Canyon you will reach Uravan. The mines near this small community produced Uranium during the first half of the Twentieth Century.

Approximately five miles north of Uravan the Dolores River heads westward and the byway begins to follow the path of the San Miguel River. Along this route the byway passes Naturita, a small ranching community. Before entering Naturita Canyon the byway leaves Highway 141 and begins to follow Highway 145 to Norwood. Norwood is a good place to gather information about the surrounding lands of the Uncompahgre National Forest. The byway continues through the San Miguel River valley to Placerville.

Recreation - This 133-mile scenic byway is most conducive to spectacular scenic driving opportunities. The terrain that surrounds the byway provides opportunities for hiking, biking, horseback riding, kayaking, rafting, four-wheel driving, camping and fishing.

Climate - Climate conditions in Colorado should be taken seriously throughout the state. Snow and ice are common on roads and trails from mid-October through late April. In the summer months snow is still possible but less common. Varying conditions throughout a given day can be expected throughout the year. Remember that summer days can typically have beautiful sunny mornings and short sudden thunderstorms in the afternoon. Please prepare appropriately for your outdoor experience.

Location - This scenic byway is located in the southwestern section of the state. It winds through the river valleys of the Uncompahgre Plateau. The byway follows the Dolores and San Miguel River valleys. This is was also once mining territory, with remnants of a bygone era, that may interest history enthusiasts.


Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
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Filed By: Art Goodtimes (Norwood, CO)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: This has to be one of the prettiest drives in the country. I usually stop at the Unaweep Seep to see butterflies. Or for a drink of water near Sewemup Mesa's roadside spring. Lots of rare plants in the canyon, and the Palisade at Gateway is an amazing rock formation. The Sun House in Naturita is a great place to stop for coffee and gifts, while the Gateway Cafe is a classic diner. The Back Narrows in Norwood is a great place to stop -- formerly the historic Western Hotel. If you're lucky you'll see the alabaster mine in the canyon, and the Hanging Flume. Lots of sidecanyons to explore. I drive it once a month and I never get tired of the scenery.


More Information

Contact Information:
BLM - Montrose District Office, 2465 S. Townsend , Montrose, CO, 81401, Phone: 970-249-6047

Additional Information:
Colorado Scenic Byways - Driving through Colorado can be some of the most rewarding driving possible. The scenic byways deserve their name and are definitely worth the detour.

Links:
Scenic Byways Homepage - National Scenic Byways official web site with detailed info on all national and state byways.

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